Slough Hockey Club duo determined to win bronze medal
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Slough Hockey Club star Ashleigh Ball
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SLOUGH duo Ashleigh Ball and Nicola White will play for bronze medal tomorrow (Friday) after Great Britain were beaten by Argentina in a controversial women's hockey semi-final on Wednesday night.
A remarkable but disputed goal shortly before half-time swung the match decisively in the Argentineans' favour and, despite a late reply from Alex Danson, a campaign Britain hoped would go all the way will conclude in this afternoon's third-place match with New Zealand (live, BBC1, 3.20pm start).
It was a bitter way for Ball and her team-mates to miss out with Britain convinced they were entitled to refer Carla Rebecchi's goal for an earlier infringement but match officials ruled against them.
With Noel Barrionuevo's sixth-minute strike having edged Argentina in front, Rebecchi's goal proved enough to send them through.
Ball was in no mood for talking after the crushing disappointment of the semi-final defeat, but head coach Danny Kerry insisted she had been robbed of a chance at winning gold.
"Last night, today and tomorrow are probably the biggest days for our sport for four years and people are confused and disappointed," said Kerry.
"The letter of the law was correct but everyone knew there was an infringement. The 22 players on the pitch knew, everyone in the crowd knew, everyone at home knew. Everyone saw it, bar one, the umpire.
"Everyone makes mistakes but the referral system is there to tidy that up. The letter of the law wouldn't allow it."
The one crumb of comfort Ball and co can take from their crushing low is that their Kiwi opponents will also need to rally themselves after losing on penalties following a 2-2 draw with the Netherlands.
And head coach Kerry insisted he was still a confident man.
"I'm really happy with the girls because they executed what we wanted them to," he added.
"There's an overwhelming sense of pride in how well we played, but a bitter, bitter disappointment that - having played so well - we haven't come out with the result.
"I've been with this group for seven and a half years and for the past four we've worked very hard on how we deal with things and understanding how each other operate in different situations.
"We've been here before with England when we lost on penalty strokes to Holland in the World Cup semi-final two years ago.
"We then played out of our skins to win the bronze medal.
"I've every confidence we can do that here. We'll use the hurt and turn it into a really strong performance against New Zealand."
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